Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Binding the Bits: Developing your Voice in Academia


Hello everyone! My name is Jessica Kuepfer and I am both thrilled and honoured to join Hook & Eye as a contributor. 

As I was preparing for this post, I was not only thinking about those I was writing for, but also the voice in which I would frame my message. When Hook & Eye began asking for different voices to join their regular blogging team, I felt I qualified as different, but was unsure of how I would bind all the bits together.

I was born and raised Conservative Mennonite so a foray into the academic world wasn’t the first thing that many in my traditional community saw for me.  As a child, being from a tradition that values simplicity and manual labour, I saw the academic woman as a foreign and interesting being. This weekend, I walked across the university stage for my two minutes of fame to accept my degree with my proud parents snapping photos and video taping my every movement.  It was a celebration of having successfully pieced together the traditional voices of my childhood with a fresh, strong academic voice. 

Contributing to Hook & Eye is much like holding a mirror to the sum total of my academic career thus far – an equal mix of uncertainty and optimism. My undergrad has been chocked full of strong female professors whom I have held up as role models, tentatively imitating their voices until I found a way to incorporate them into my own.  I am now speaking from that in-between place where I have four years down of academia and who knows how many to go, still gripped with the same uncertainty and optimism. 

I am also here to listen to your voices and to learn from your experiences that are bound to be just as varied and pieced together as mine. 

So let’s begin, shall we? 

What steps did you take to develop your voice as a writer and female leader in the academic world?  


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